Orion scores Primacom

Kabel Deutschland sells 17.5% stake

Two German TV cable grid operators are carving up a rival.

Kabel Deutschland and Orion Cable, the country’s No. 1 and No. 3 operators in terms of subscribers, have been facing off over Primacom for weeks.

Kabel Deutschland will now sell its 17.5% stake in Primacom to Orion. In turn, Kabel Deutschland will take over 1.2 million Orion customers for €587 million ($827 million), boosting its base of cable households to 10.2 million.

Orion already holds 24.3% in Primacom. The balance is held by small shareholders.

Mulling a majority takeover, Kabel Deutschland had lifted its stake in Primacom in May, but faced objections from the cartel authorities.

Both Kabel and Orion operate in many states across Germany, but to a major extent own only the long-distance grids.

The so-called “last mile,” the connections to the household, is often owned by many small local operators.

Primacom is a relatively large player on this level with 1.5 million households. The transfer means Orion will have 5 million customers, pending approval of the cartel authorities.

Orion emerged last year as a holding for operator groups Telecolumbus and EWT. Germany’s other large cable operator is Unity Media, with some 5 million households.

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